Mahogany vs. Pine: Which One to Use?

Mahogany vs. Pine: Which One to Use?

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If you are planning on building some furniture or small structures around your home, real and solid wood is always one of the best options to consider. However, there are of course many different kinds of lumber you can choose. Two very popular choices at this time are pine and mahogany, both of which have their specific properties, pros and cons, and uses.

Let’s figure out if it’s pine or mahogany that you need.

What Is Mahogany?

Mahogany is a species of hardwood tree that is deciduous in nature. This is a tropical hardwood species, with the tree growing mainly in the Americas, particularly in the warmer regions, although it can now also be found in Oceania and Asia.

This is a reddish-brown and straight-grained tree that exhibits great durability, a beautiful appearance, great pest and rot resistance, and more. Due to these factors, it is a prime choice for high-end interior and exterior furniture, doors, windows, and trim. However, mahogany is also quite expensive.

What Is Pine?

We then have pine, which is a coniferous softwood tree. There are many different types of pine tree, although the white pine and the eastern white pine are two of the most common. These trees can be commonly found all throughout North America, as well as in other parts of the northern hemisphere, such as in northern Europe.

Pine wood is known for having reddish-brown heartwood, although quite light, with yellowish-white sapwood. This is a readily available type of wood, so it’s not overly expensive. Pine wood is also straight-grained but contains a lot of knots, which can make it hard to work with.

Although pine is a softwood, it is fairly durable, and due to its high resin and sap content, is fairly moisture, pest, and rot resistant. Pine is commonly used for a variety of interior and exterior applications, which may include decking, patios, furniture, windows, doors, trim, and more.

Mahogany vs. Pine: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what both mahogany and pine are, let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.


One big difference between the two is that mahogany is a hardwood, whereas pine is a softwood, and yes, this does mean that mahogany is the much harder of the two. Mahogany comes in at 900 lbf on the Janka scale, therefore making it quite hard when compared to the 380 to 400 lbf Janka rating of pine. Hence, mahogany is over twice as hard as pine, which means that it better resists impacts, scratching, and denting.

Density and Weight

Another difference between the two is that mahogany is also substantially heavier and denser than pine, which is generally quite lightweight. Mahogany is going to come in at around 800 kg per cubic meter, whereas eastern pine is going to come in at around 400 to 450 kg per cubic meter. Therefore, not only is mahogany about twice as hard as pine but about twice as dense too.

Moisture and Pest Resistance

Due to the high sap content of pine, it is relatively pest resistant, although it is a softwood, it has some knots and voids, and it’s not overly dense, so it’s not the most moisture-resistant type of wood out there. Yes, it does fine with some moisture, but for prolonged exposure, it does need to be treated first. Mahogany on the other hand, while it doesn’t contain as much resin or sap, is much denser and harder, therefore making it difficult for pests and moisture to get in. Mahogany is more resistant to the elements than pine.

Overall Durability

In terms of overall durability and how much punishment these two types of wood can take, mahogany is definitely the stronger of the two. It’s harder, denser, more impact-resistant, and more moisture and pest resistant too.

Color and Appearance

Although both of these types of wood have a relatively straight grain, mahogany has far fewer voids and knots than pine, which is full of them. For this reason, many people prefer the consistent appearance of mahogany. Moreover, mahogany has a really nice deep reddish-brown color, whereas pine is usually going to be more yellowish-white in color. It’s not like pine looks bad by any means, but also not nearly as good as mahogany.

Availability and Cost

Mahogany is the much rarer of the two, which also means that it is less readily available, and when you do find it, you will pay a pretty penny for it. Expect to pay up to 15 dollars per board foot of mahogany, whereas with pine, you can expect to pay about half as much, if not even less. Pine is just much more common and more readily available, therefore making it more affordable.

Workability and Maintenance

Mahogany is relatively easy to work with because it has few knots and voids. The knots and voids, and the high resin content of pine, makes it harder to work with.

When to Use Mahogany Wood?

If you are planning on making some really high-end furniture for outdoor or indoor use, you want some really nice doors and windows, or anything decorative, and you are willing to pay for it, then mahogany is the better option. If you are looking for durability and aesthetic appeal, and you’ve got money to spend, then this wood is a fantastic choice.

When to Use Pine Wood?

If you are making medium-end furniture for indoor use, flooring and decking, windows and doors, and you don’t want to pay too much for them, then pine is the way to go. Pine is a very versatile type of wood that can be used for most applications as long as too much moisture isn’t involved.

Alternatives to Mahogany and Pine Wood

If you are looking for other types of super durable hardwood to make high-end furniture out of, we recommend checking out options such as maple, birch, oak, bamboo, and walnut.

You might also want to read our detailed article about mahogany alternatives.


Now that you know what the main differences between pine and mahogany wood are, you can make an informed decision between the two. Both are great options to consider for their own specific purposes.